Retro Review: Alien 3 (1992)

Alien 3 is possibly the most controversial entry of the entire Alien film series.  After Aliens, fans wanted more and Alien 3 was a long awaited, 6 years it took to come out.  It was not the sequel any one wanted.  The end of Aliens really had fans thinking, wanted to see what happened with Ripley, Newt and Hicks.  But, they were killed off at the opening of the film and we got something entirely different.

The fact the Newt and Hicks were killed off had no effect on me.  When I mention that to people, they often think I am lying.  Truth is, I did not see Aliens until 2005 and Alien in the mid-1990s.  Alien 3 was the first I had seen in the series.  I a cannot tell you why it took me nearly 20 years to see Aliens, I guess general lack of interest in the series.  I saw the two that were more like horror films, but Aliens just didn’t appeal to me.  I was wrong, I saw Aliens and loved every second of it and felt stupid.  It also made me think lesser of Alien 3.  But the memory I have of seeing Alien 3 along with Batman Returns lingers as a happy one and revisiting Alien 3 recently hasn’t changed that I like it.

I am a fan of David Fincher films, I did not realize this was his first as a director.  I think he did a fine job with what he was given.  The extended edition with can be found on, well pretty much ever single DVD and Blu Ray Edition is the way to go.  If you can get past the obvious problem with the story, killing off two surviving characters from the popular Aliens film.  I have read Renny Harlin was approached, based off of his work on A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master.  He was approached to direct the third film, he wanted to explore the Alien home world and it would be a different film from the first two.

Alien 3 we get an entirely new cast of characters and a new location, the only thing that remains is Ripley and a Xenomorph.  Alien 3 actually starts where Aliens left off aboard the Sulaco.  There is a fire on the ship and computer fires an escape pod with Ripley, Newt, Hicks and Bishop who is damaged badly.  They are still in the cryo-sleep as the escape pod is heading for the planet below.  The pod crashes on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a foundry facility and prison which is inhabited with only male inmates with double-Y chromosome syndrome.  This is a genetic mutation present in some males in the 22nd century which gives them a predisposition for brutal crimes like rape and murder.  So in this setting, Ripley is the only female, which makes for an interesting story.

I really liked the setting, there are no weapons to fight the new Xenomorph, which is spawned from a dog and it looks different than the Xenomorph from the humans.  Fincher wanted the Xenomorph to move more like a puma or a beast.  The biggest issue to me is the obvious CGI or whatever effect it was when the Alien was moving around, it looked terrible.  But some of the up close shots, like the famous close up of the Alien breathing down Ripley’s neck, looked great.

The movie is kind of bland, but it, to me is closer to the original Alien movie and for sure a horror film, like a slasher.  It isn’t the sequel we wanted, but it is what he have.  So we all have to deal with that and the fact the Blomkamp film isn’t getting made.  The very end of the film, to me, has a very iconic looking shot.  It could have been a very good ending to a trilogy, but…Alien Resurrection happened a few years later.

If I were to rank the series, which…hold on, I will get there eventually, pre Alien Covenant.  I would rank Alien 3 near the bottom.  Out of the seven films, which I include AVP in this, it would be maybe 5 or 6.

I do like Alien 3, as I said, it feels like it gets back to its roots of horror and that was a very nice touch.  I also liked seeing the Xenomorph born from a dog and how it actually changed the look and the way it moves, like a Puma!  I would love to see a Blomkamp version of Alien 3 or 2.5 or whatever, with Hicks and Newt, it just seems like this is not going to happen for us.

IMDB has a rating of 6.4, which is surprisingly high.

I rate Alien 3 with a 6.0 

Rotten Tomatoes has it at 46%

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)